Many N.C. State fans will be pleased that the makeover and modernization of Reynolds Coliseum has not wiped away all vestiges of its past.
Some of the original 1949 seats remain. The noise meter has been hung. The old Longines clock – NCSU officials promise – will be remain a Reynolds fixture.
Reynolds Coliseum, from the time it opened in 1949, always has had a certain look and feel to it. From ’49 to 1999, it was the home of the Wolfpack’s men’s basketball team, and had two national championship banners hanging above the south-end seats of the coliseum.
Everett Case once sat courtside. David Thompson levitated to the basket. Stormin’ Norman and Jimmy V. Lowe and Whittenburg. Fire and Ice.
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So many moments. A dying Case cutting down the nets for the last time in 1965. A dying Jim Valvano saying goodbye in ’93. David’s big fall in ’74.
The late Kay Yow, coaching the Wolfpack women, won so many games in Reynolds and the court later was named in her honor. Bob Guzzo had championship wrestling teams.
Reynolds changed when the men’s team left in 1999 for the Entertainment and Sports Arena out by the football stadium. It changed again after the 2005 fire.
The $35 million renovation will give Reynolds a different look and feel. It will be air-conditioned and will have kind of an airy, modern gym/fitness center feel to it, with state-of-the-art sports medicine facilities, new media and TV control rooms, LED lighting, large concession areas, remodeled locker rooms.
There are still 23-step staircases up to the playing floor. How many Wolfpack teams have bounded out of the locker room and up those stairs to be energized by the lights, the sudden cheers, the pep band and the fight song?
Windows and a glass-curtain wall will allow more daylight to fill the front of the building, the lobby and the “Grand Hall of the Walk of Fame and History” area. A futuristic Wolf sculpture is to be unveiled.
NCSU says the seating capacity will be 5,500 for basketball, says a “Heritage” men’s game will be played at Reynolds in December. Could be a tough ticket.
Reynolds will welcome back the women’s basketball team, which played last season at Broughton High’s Holliday Gym. But Reynolds will first be used, NCSU says, for a Sept. 9 volleyball game.
A gala and grand reopening will be held Sept. 16, tied to the N.C. State Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Everyone then can take a good, long look around.
Some Wolfpack fans may be hesitant to return, preferring the memories of green-then-red seats and organ music, ACC Tournament and Dixie Classic games, C.A. on the P.A., the cigarette haze and the smell of fresh popcorn. Others will embrace the new and updated., saying it’s long overdue and needed.
It won’t be the same Reynolds Coliseum. It’s still Reynolds Coliseum.